In 2011–12, the Library continued an active program of acquiring Australian and overseas publications in print and digital form.

In April 2012, the second bulk harvest of Australian Government websites, conducted under whole-of-government information and communication technology arrangements to collect
freely available government web content, was completed. The harvest collected approximately 800 website domains, which will be accessible through PANDORA: Australia’s Web Archive.

A collaborative project with PANDORA partners commenced to develop collections of websites relating to Australia’s early twenty first century resources boom and to the Murray–Darling Basin. This ongoing project aims to represent the political, social, economic and cultural issues associated with the collecting themes and will be accessible to researchers as curated collections via PANDORA. 

A copy of Australian Folk Songs and Bush Ballads Enhanced E-book PART ONE was purchased to assist with understanding the issues associated with collecting and providing access to complex e-publications. The publication includes video content and comes in a number of different versions, each presenting different issues on how to manage ongoing access.

A number of interesting older and rare publications were acquired during the year, in addition to contemporary overseas publications and mainstream Australian publications acquired under legal deposit provisions. Highlights included:

  • Ongeluckige voyagie, van’t schip Batavia, nae de Oost-Indien (1649), a rare Utrecht edition of François Pelsaert’s account of his voyage along the West Australian coast to Batavia, which completes the Library’s holdings of all early editions of Pelsaert’s account
  • a rare copy of one of Pedro Fernandez de Quirós’ memorials, printed for presentation to the King and Court of Spain (August 1608), in which Quirós replies to objections made to his proposal for settlement of the southern lands; the Quirós memorials are important foundation documents of Australian history
  • a copy of Johann Friedrich Meckel’s Ornithorhynchi paradoxi: Descriptio anatomica (1826), the first monograph on the Australian platypus
  • Xin bian hong wei bing zi liao (A New Collection of Red Guard Publications), an outstanding 112-volume collection of reprinted Red Guard newspapers from the Chinese Cultural Revolution period (1966–1976)
  • Thai Cigarette Cards: The Ramayana, a complete set of 150 cigarette cards depicting characters from the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana
  • numerous publications and an archive of websites from Japan relating to the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster
  • two rare propaganda publications from Cambodia, donated by a retired diplomat: Images du Kampuchea Democratique (Pictures of Democratic Kampuchea) (1976), depicting the idyllic life of the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge, and Norodom Sihanouk en zone libre du Cambodge (1988), showing Norodom Sihanouk’s visits to the Sihanoukist resistance during the period of the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia
  • volumes 4 and 5 (January–December 1838) of Jugend-Blatter: Monatschrift zur Forderung wahrer Bildung, a German children’s magazine with woodcut illustrations of Australian and South Pacific views, including a print of James Cook being welcomed to Tahiti and of Jean-François de Galaup La Pérouse and his men engaged in combat.

The Library continued to provide online access to key historical resources, including:

  • Making of the Modern World, Part II, 1851–1914, which supplements Part I, 1450–1850
  • JSTOR Arts and Sciences X Collection, adding to the Library’s existing subscription for the Arts and Sciences collections I–IX
  • Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, via the Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Acquisitions for the Manuscripts Collection included:

  • the papers of entertainer Tex Morton, pioneer aviator Maude Lores Bonney, director George Ogilvie, composer Paul Grabowsky and the Mackay family of pastoralists, and a substantial addition to the papers of former Governor-General Sir Zelman Cowen
  • a small collection of letters from French scientists and expeditioners Joseph Paul Gaimard and Jean Rene Constant Quoy, adding to holdings related to the navigator Louis de Freycinet.

Highlights of the acquisitions for the Pictures Collection included:

  • Chrysanthemums (c. 1890), an expressive oil floral study by Ellis Rowan, which complements the Library’s extensive collection of the artist’s watercolours
  • a pencil portrait of the artist Fred Williams by John Brack
  • a series of photographs by Sidney Nolan of the 1952 Queensland drought
  • Ceremony (1900), a pen-and-ink drawing by Tommy McRae
  • Ian Abdulla’s colourful diptych Living along the River Murray (2008)
  • a tapestry commissioned in honour of Kenneth Myer AC by his siblings and family, woven by the Australian Tapestry Workshop and donated by its foundation.

Many notable Australians were interviewed for the Oral History Collection, including entertainer Julie Anthony, climate scientist Barrie Pittock, politicians Carmen Lawrence, Amanda Vanstone and Bob Hawke, Paralympian swimmer Anne Brunell, adventurer and explorer Colin Putt, 1967 Referendum activist Uncle Ray Peckham and Chief Justice Murray Gleeson.
Australian Generations, a four-year oral history project funded by the Australian Research Council, documented attitudes in Australian society and extended the Library’s partnering and data-sharing capabilities. A new project was commissioned to elicit opinions and views of people affected by coal seam gas mining.

Noteworthy acquisitions for the Maps Collection included:

  • two pairs of celestial/terrestrial floor globes, manufactured by J. & W. Cary, showing the period of charting immediately after James Cook and Matthew Flinders
  • Indiae Orientalis nova descriptio, published by the Dutch firm Jansson in 1630, the earliest map covering south-east Asia to include traces of Willem Jansz’s 1605 
  • Duyfken voyage
  • a consignment of 600 sales plans, parish maps and allotment drawings from the 1840to the1880s, mainly of southern New South Wales and Victoria
  • several important declassified map series relating to Australian military, peacekeeping and humanitarian activities over the past 20 years, including topographic maps of EastTimor and mapping used by Australian personnel during a United Nations operation in Somalia.